Louis van Gaal’s mission to win the world title with Orange failed again in Argentina. Where the South Americans cut the Dutch national team’s path to the final at the 2014 World Cup, now things have gone wrong for the Orange in the quarter-finals. After the Orange team made a great comeback in the final stage with Plan B, and took extra time with two goals from Wout Weghorst (2-2), just like in Brazil, things went wrong for the Dutch team in the last penalty shootout series. .
It was a stunning final stage in which the Netherlands, who had never imposed anything offensive throughout most of the match, with powerful Wighorst and Luuk de Jong in the squad, rocked the Argentines, who defended a 2-0 lead. Weghorst 1-2, who gracefully put the ball into the net after a perfect cross from Steven Berghuis, who also entered, had the first serious chance in the 83rd minute for the Orange, who had played a literally hopeless game for so long.
At that time, the Dutch national team still had seven minutes of normal playing time and, as it turned out, ten minutes of stoppage time for the equalizer. It eventually fell due to wasting time for the Argentines in the eleventh minute of stoppage time. It was Wighurst himself who deserved a free kick, because he was beaten to the ground by three Argentines. Teun Koopmeiners and Cody Gakpo lined up behind the free kick and as the Argentines counted on a kick from Gakpo, the Orange came up with a trained and intelligent free kick. The Koopmeiners pushed the ball low next to the wall to Weghorst, who pushed the ball into the goal from the turn and gave the Orange an extension.
The frustration was high with the Argentines, who already thought they were in the semi-finals. As it turned out earlier in the tournament, the Orange had trouble forcing anything offensive with this tactic. For a country that has prided itself on having attractive, attacking football in the past, it was so little that the number of tries on goal was limited for so long, a shot so wide for Steven Bergwijn.
This was the Netherlands’ seventh quarter-final match at a World Cup. On five previous occasions, the Orange have managed to advance, resulting in a loss of three finals (1974, 1978 and 2010), a third-place finish (2014) and a fourth-place finish (1998). Only in the 1994 World Cup in the United States was the quarter-finals the final destination.
Argentina played a home match in the majestic Lusail Stadium with tens of thousands of Argentine fans in the stands and an estimated 50,000 sympathizers, compared to only a small group of Dutch people, around 1,400. Argentina’s faith in Messi’s mission until his fifth. The World Cup title is huge and boosted by the shock elimination of great Brazilian rivals earlier in the evening.
Van Gaal was confident that Argentine national coach Lionel Scaloni had adapted his team’s system to the 5-3-2 system used by the Netherlands. “It means they are very afraid of us,” said the orange coach.
Do not break the pots
Van Gaal himself brought extra speed to the team with Steven Bergwijn. Gakpo moved one line back into the 10th and top scorer Memphis Depay got the favored attacking line-up, he said after the game against Qatar.
This attack failed to break the pots in the first half. Where the Dutch team barked but didn’t bite, Argentina threatened. Especially when Argentine Lionel Messi got the ball, it was the first warning phase. The orange tried to push him off target, but every now and then he slips away.
Where Messi put the ball high on a shot chance, it was at the base of the opening goal in the 35th minute. Messi drove the ball towards the edge of the sixteen and, despite goalkeeper Nathan Ake, managed to give a great through ball, which Nahuel Molina fired past the keeper. He ran away from Daly Blind and Virgil van Dijk could no longer bring him down.
The explosion of joy at Lusail’s mega stadium was colossal. The Argentines were overjoyed. Knowing that little is lost in the Argentine defense, Argentina took a big step towards the semi-finals with the opening goal.
In an effort to get the Orange to play football a bit more, Van Gaal made a double substitution at half-time. Bergwijn and Martin de Roon had to make way for Steven Bergwiss and Theon Kopeminers. This did not change the game’s image much. The Netherlands were allowed to get the ball from Argentina, but the Orange did nothing in the enemy’s penalty area. The offensive weakness of the Orange at this point in the game was painful to watch. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez could bring a folding chair with him, so he didn’t experience much.
But as long as it’s only one margin, there’s still a chance of a stray ball falling from Orange. Perhaps a little earlier than planned, Van Gaal switched to Plan B. Daley Blind was unable to continue and Luuk de Jong took his place, causing Gakpo to move to his favored left wing. This Plan B appeared during the match, because Van Gaal or one of his assistants had left a note with the scenario of two powerful strikers on the bench, after which it was photographed.
That Plan B seemed to be thwarted when Argentina doubled down on their lead. Denzel Dumfries entered Marcos Acuna in the penalty area and Spanish referee Mateo Lahoz put the ball in his place. Although he missed Poland in the Group C match, Messi went after the penalty kick and this time he hit the ball flawlessly: his fourth goal of the tournament and 95th in total for the Argentine team.
Van Gaal only added a senior striker with Weghorst, who was shown a yellow card as a protesting reserve in the first half. This resulted in an equalizing goal, when Wighorst cleverly put his header in against Berghuis’ cross. The Dutch still had seven minutes of normal playing time and injury time to force an equalizer and that was enough to force extra time. This has been the case for a long time. Penalties had to decide and foul again against the Argentines.
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